The North West ANC has expressed shock at the arrest of its deputy chairperson China Dodovu in relation to the murder of Oubuti Chika.
Dodovu, who is also the provincial for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, was arrested on Monday morning during the meeting of the ANC's provincial officials in Potchefstroom.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko confirmed that Dodovu was arrested in his office in Potchefstroom.
“He hasn’t appeared in court yet, but we are busy questioning him,” said Ramaloko.
“We are charging him for conspiracy to commit murder,” said Ramaloko
ANC provincial spokesperson Kenny Morolong called on party members and the public to allow the courts to do its job unhindered. "We believe that this judicial process must run its course without impediments and that the courts are competent to deal with this matter and bring it to closure," said Morolong.
He said the ANC believed in the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and that no one is above the law regardless of the position they hold in the society.
Morolong also commended the police for working hard to find Chika's killers. "We hope that those responsible for the death of Kenneth Kaunda regional secretary Oubuti Chika will face the full might of the law."
Shortly after Dodovu's arrest, North West Premier Thandi Modise issued a statement calling for calm and asking communities to allow the law to take its course for justice to be done for the Chika family.
"While we note the arrest and hope that justice will be done, we also believe that every suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a responsible court of law. It is on this basis that we support further and intensive investigation into the matter. We believe that MEC [provincial minister] Dodovu will cooperate with the investigation," said Modise.
The statement also said provinical minister for finance Paul Sebegoe will act in Dodovu's position.
Seven suspects have already been arrested in connection with Chika's murder and remanded in custody. One of the suspects, Sihlangu Sekhakhane from KwaZulu-Natal, is suspected to be the gunman. Last week the Hawks told the media that a gun linked to Chika's murder was recovered in KwaZulu-Natal.
Among those arrested is chairperson of the ANC Youth League in the North West, Papiki Babuile, an ANC ward councillor and a municipal employee.
Outside court last week a group of ANC supporters held placards that mentioned that the "big fish" should be arrested in connection with the murder.
Chika was killed on the evening of the ANC's Mangaung conference in December last year.
The suspects are expected to appear in court this week for a formal bail application. They face charges of murder, premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder.